…Or you’ll stand miss out on some gems.
At the end of 2013 I bought two excellent properties for clients. They were completely different and yet very similar. One was a house in Notting Hill that was wider than average. The other was a three bedroom apartment in Knightsbridge with exceptional views over Hyde Park.
How were they similar? They had both been on the market for many months. Consequently most buyers had decided to ignore them as they presumed that there had to be something intrinsically wrong with them.
Indeed the agent on the house in Notting Hill told me that many property advisers like myself had said that they only wanted to be told about new properties. Shame on them but good for me and my clients. As I have stated before, it is irrelevant how long a property has been on the market. If it is a good property buy it.
As with many things in life, you will often benefit by doing the opposite of the crowd. But why had these properties been overlooked? In the first instance, they were both overvalued. Secondly, neither was presented particularly well. Therefore when they were initially marketed buyers could find better properties and were also scared of making an offer at fair value (or less!).
However, as the months pass on such properties two things happen:
1. The market catches up with the prices (assuming a rising market such as last year’s)
2. The seller will become more flexible on price
In the case of the house in Notting Hill the owner had rejected an offer from another party that was 7% higher than the price we eventually paid. In the case of the apartment in Knightsbridge, a far inferior apartment a five minute walk away sold in a sealed bid for more per square foot than the one we bought.
I bring this up because I had a meeting with potential clients yesterday who wanted me to only show them off-market properties. However, this is invariably a mistake. If you want to discover the best opportunities, you have to have total market coverage- both off market and openly marketed properties. I explained this and said that I would refuse to act for them if he did not take my advice as I feel so strongly on the subject. Fortunately, he realised that focusing on only a small percentage of the market made no sense whatsoever, so I have agreed to represent him.
Of course, one also needs to be able to spot the opportunities when they become available. Just because a property has been on the market for 8 months does not make it a good acquisition. If you would like to know more about how to value properties, how to negotiate the best terms or discuss the major concerns you have about buying a property in prime central London, then please get in touch using the form here.
We look forward to hearing from you.